As we can all agree, today was a more sensitive and emotional day than most days here, in Riobamba. The Glimpsers spent their morning and afternoon in Parque Maldonodo working with an organization called Manitos Trabajadoras, which provide support for school age, low income children who work on the street. The family that runs this organization provides protection, free meals, and supplies to the children – provided that they attend school. Even though these children work, they are still children. We showed them a lot of love and interest, and they warmed up to us quickly. We enjoyed every moment we spent together. This included playing games with them, talking to them, helping them sell their daily products to support their families, and eating lunch with them, and even breaking out into dance in the middle of the town square.

Spending time with each child, we learned something new – not just about them – but about ourselves as well. We realized we are not nearly as resilient as they are. We struggled, got frustrated, and even got negative with the rejection we received from the people we were trying to sell the goods to. The children, on the other hand, kept it moving, told us to keep up, and still had smiles on their faces. One of the children showed Margot how to shine shoes. While she was attempting to do it, he gave her some pointers, then, with a big smile, looked up and said “She’s a fast learner”.

We worked with two kids who really caught our eye: John and Mario. John is a 12-year-old boy who lives his life basically hustling on the street. He showed his grind today in many ways; his smooth shoe polishing, his English skills, and his raps that describe the world he sees on a daily basis. Mario, on the other hand, is more of a quiet child, but still hardworking. This made it difficult for him to sell candy alone, so us helping him sell all his candy in a span of 4 hours seemed to really brighten his day. Although they are two different children, their situations are similar in that they both have to work on the streets to provide for their families.

We were surprised by how much we connected with these children within just a few hours. There were tears as we exchanged hugs and as we rode off on our bus. We were all truly touched by this deep and lasting interaction.